A game is where the true ‘value’ is reflected (or displaced) somewhere else, onto some sort of screen or baffle, where it can function as a very potent (a hypnotically potent) lure. There is nothing actually there however which is, in one way, the ‘weakness’ of the scheme — it’s all about what is there to be won, what is there to be gained, and yet there’s nothing there, nothing whatsoever! The whole thing is a complete farce…
It turns out that this isn’t a ‘weakness’ at all, however. The original or true value is unconditional, which is to say, there are no strings attached, no baggage (or dogma) that has to be taken on board. We don’t have to buy into anything. This isn’t a coveted prize to be won, in the face of great competition, it’s a gift freely given to all. The reflected version of the original — on the other hand — has many strings attached. It’s a veritable nest of strings — it’s a tangled web of strings and nothing else. There are all sorts of things that we have to do, all sorts of conditions that have to be fulfilled, before we can even draw close to the prize. Although we don’t know it — and we certainly are never told it — there are infinitely many conditions to be met. There’s no end of them — the whole thing is a diabolical scam.
The conditions aren’t there to test our worthiness — which is what we tend to think -they are there to keep us busy, to keep us distracted, nothing else. They are there to keep us from finding out that the prize is just a made-up story. The chase was never about the catch, it was only ever about the chase. We are ‘chasing for the sake of chasing’. We are ‘playing the game for the sake of playing the game’. We don’t know this however — we’re convinced that it’s all legit, we’re convinced that it’s all about the goal, not the striving for the goal. We certainly don’t think that what we’re engaged in is ‘the futile striving for a goal that doesn’t exist’. The game however wouldn’t be a game otherwise; the game is all about deception and deception is only deception when we are deceived. A game — in other words — is simply ‘that situation where we are being continuously duped’!
Because of the many conditions attached to obtaining the prize we never get to the point where we discover that we are being duped. This is also how the system ‘gas-lights’ us the system gas-lights us by getting us to believe that it’s our fault that we aren’t getting anywhere; instead of seeing that the fault lies in the game, in the deception, we see it as lying within ourselves. We take on the game’s fault as being our own and are correspondingly hard on ourselves as a result. We are trained to blame ourselves; we are trained to see ourselves in a bad light. As well as trapping us in the never-ending pursuit of something that isn’t there, the game also causes us to feel perpetually bad about ourselves. The only way we can get to be ‘not feeling bad about ourselves’ — so we are led to believe — is by achieving ‘within the terms of the game’ but the game keeps holding back on that one. It keeps us hungry…
The game can reward and encourage us as well of course, but this is still abuse. We are being groomed, we are being drawn deeper and deeper into the abusive relationship by being rewarded and so the rewards are just as entrapping as the punishments. This is gaslighting ‘in reverse’, so to speak — instead of feeling bad about ourselves because we think we’re not good enough, we feel good about ourselves because we have successfully conformed to what the system says we should be doing, and what it says we should be. We are being rewarded for betraying ourselves, for setting ourselves out, in other words, we have become the system’s version of us and so the system is rewarding itself, granting favours to itself, etc, whilst we — for our part — are getting to feel good by imagining that we are this version of ourselves when we are not. We are fully identifying with the abuser — we’ve got Stockholm syndrome in a big way.
When we get to feel good about ourselves because we have successfully conformed to the system this in no way benefits us therefore. The more we ‘sell ourselves out’ the more we are beholden to the system, the more we are dependent upon it. All that success within the terms of the game means is that we are putting ourselves in a position where we can be controlled more and more effectively by it. We become more and more dependent upon the drug of validation and the system can withhold this validation just as easily as it can bestow it. When that validation is withheld we are nothing, we are less than nothing — our very existence becomes a torment. We are tormented by our own (perceived) unworthiness — the mechanism which is the rational mind judges us and we identify with that mechanism.
The message from ‘the outside’ is that we are a failure, that we have let the side down, that we are beyond the pale, beneath contempt, etc and this same message is received from ‘the inside’ too. When we adapt to the machine then we become the machine and so the machine is both on the outside and the inside of us. We are left with nowhere to turn — we are well and truly caught no matter what we do, and so we just have to endure the punishment. We’re thoroughly jinxed.
No amount of CBT is going to help us here, therefore! No amount of CBT (or whatever other type of rational therapy) is going to help us because the CBT (or whatever other type of therapy) is the machine. The so-called therapy is part of the ongoing abuse, in other words; first the machine gets us to feel bad about ourselves and then it offers (out of its great benevolence) to cure us. The ‘cure’ — however — is just another level of abuse of course (because the so-called ‘therapy’ doesn’t work). The therapy is just another game, which is to say, being ‘mentally well’ is presented to us as a conditional type of thing, the prize is there waiting to be claimed — or so we are told — but we have to jump through numerous hoops first. We won’t ever get any benefit from this however because no one can ever reach a state of mental wellness via control (which is to say via devices, techniques, procedures devised by thought). Control is the machine and the machine is control. The only reason we would need control would be if the value inherent in life (or reality) were conditional, and it isn’t. Only thought is setting conditions, only thought is demanding that we ‘do’ something first. It sets itself up as the indispensable guide whilst really it is nothing more than an infernal obstacle.
As Alan Watts says, we can’t allow ourselves to see that if we are to be saved then we are to be saved as we are, without meeting any requirements, without making any special type of effort so as to prove that we are good enough, so as to prove that we ‘deserve’ it. Who are we trying to prove this to however? In one way, we could say that we are trying to prove it to ourselves, which is obviously ridiculous since what would we know? In a deeper sense we’re trying to prove it to ‘the machine of thought’, the ‘mechanical introject’ that has been implanted in us by society, and this is definitely not going to get us anywhere! The ‘External Authority’ has wormed its way inside of us and it’s going to lead us a merry dance. For one thing, the Machine Mind doesn’t know a damn thing about anything (all it knows about are its own rules, which it itself makes up as it goes along) and for another thing, the ‘Machine Mind’ is also the Abuser Mind.
In its right place thought is a diligent and very useful servant, but once it takes over (once it promotes itself to the position of Supreme Authority) then it immediately becomes a horrendous tyrant. It becomes ‘the Bad Master’, it becomes an Authoritarian Monster, it becomes a ravening demon that cannot be placated. Under the guise of helping us, the Machine Mind will keep us busy forever, promising us something that it will never ever deliver. Once it sucks us in it will never let go (not of its own accord, anyway). We are under the impression that ‘it is serving us’, whilst the truth of the matter is that it is using us, and will continue to use us until it has sucked the very last vestige of vitality out of us. We’re very far indeed from seeing this, but the useful tool which is thought has become the Arch Predator. Thought has become ‘Rumi’s Dragon’, and it has consumed us utterly…